A recent blog post explained the south west of Tasmania was my destination for an ‘overseas’ adventure, and provided maps to show you the way. The trip is now complete and, as with my usual travels, I have written a report to be released in posts each day on this Tasmanian Discoveries blog.
For a few days after my return I puzzled about how to write the story; should it be presented in a chronological or thematic order. Typically my blog posts are written with the intention to uplift and inspire, so I wondered about the extent to which I might describe aspects which were less than perfect for me. In the end I decided five outstandingly wonderful aspects needed to be the focus for this blog report; the environments (land, water and airscapes), the onshore discoveries, my fellow passengers, the care derived from decades of experience and given to us all by Captain Sarah, and the indefatigable approach and training ability of the First Mate Susie of the Windeward Bound sailing ship.
This blog post will set the scene and sketch out our itinerary. Subsequent blog posts dig more deeply into each of the above five factors. Entwined in these other aspects and small moments, which gave me great satisfaction, will round out the report.
Most likely my motivations for embarking on a sailing ship were different from some others; I realised (having sailed and been on a variety of boats and ships and yachts over the years, and sometimes for lengthy trips) that I am not interested in boats, ships and yachts per se. Nor am I interested in the mechanics of sailing other than as a general passing interest. Simply, I saw boarding the Windeward Bound as the best means of transport to let me see and experience the sea, sky and land between Hobart and the South West, and then to have time in that south western Tasmanian wilderness, an area which few Tasmanians leave alone mainlanders and people from the rest of the world get to see. The alternative of flying in and out for a day or two are not practical; the timelines are weather dependant and no guarantees can be given about arrival times and dates. Booking onto a glam tent experience for three or four days would not have allowed me to see as much as I did. In advance of the trip I believed this sailing ship was the best option and now, I am back home, I continue to believe that when all goes well, taking the sailing ship to the south west is the best option. The Windeward Bound Trust offers this 8 day opportunity to adult passengers only twice a year (in March and in November) giving the chance for unparalleled access to diverse aspects of the Port Davey, Bathurst Channel and Bathurst Harbour precincts.
No two itineraries can be the same; all are weather and sea dependent. Our itinerary was as follows:
Day 1 – departure from Hobart
Day 2 – resting in Recherche Bay, and motoring south
Day 3 – arrival in Port Davey and motoring through the Bathurst Channel to moor off the Celery Top Islands within the Bathurst Harbour
Day 4 – climbing the mast and forward boom; going onshore at Claytons Corner and either walking up Mt Beattie or TV Hill
Day 5 – to Melaleuca
Day 6 – out into Port Davey then back into the Channel and moored at Bramble Cove; climbing on Mt Stokes
Day 7 – moored off the Celery Top Islands within the Bathurst Harbour: two passengers taken to Melaleuca to fly back to Hobart, more mast climbing, within Bathurst Harbour before motoring to Schooner Cove for dinner and the stars, and then finally leaving Port Davey and going south heading towards home.
Day 8 – motoring across southern Tasmania, then northwards, passing Recherche Bay and into the D’Entrecasteaux Channel separating mainland Tasmania from Bruny Island, and finally into the docks of Hobart.
Occasionally, a sentence or phrase within quotation marks has been inserted into a blog post – these have been lifted from the thousands of words of handwritten journal notes I made daily during the voyage.
My big thank you goes to fellow passengers Ralph, Rob and Serena. I have been able to flesh out my stories with some of their spectacular photos which I acknowledge throughout.
Was it worth it? This question has been posed to me by many friends. Yes it was worth it. The cost was in the thousands of dollars but I always knew that a major portion was to support the main work of the Windeward Bound. One hundred percent of me believes in their mission of youth development to train kids and boost their confidence so they become better human beings and better for society. At the end of the voyage when I thanked the Captain, my fellow passengers wholeheartedly voiced their agreement; we had experienced and learnt so much about ourselves, the environment, and much more.